Perform tricks more easily with a kneeboard while maintaining your balance
Where I already talked about skimboarding and of course SUP boarding it is interesting to also look at kneeboarding. A big difference with the other water sports that have been mentioned. Because, as the name says, you are on your knees, the center of gravity is lower and you have more balance on the water.
This allows you to perform more difficult tricks, because you are less likely to lose your balance. Where a kneeboard was originally mainly used behind a boat, such as wakeboarding or waterskiing, they can also be used without propulsion by a boat, just like surfboards.
How does a kneeboard work?
There are two different types of kneeboarding: waterskiing and golf riding. Golf riding is seen as part of surfing, where you do tricks similar to surfing and glide along with the waves.
The boards made for riding waves are between 150 cm and 200 cm long. They are wider than a standard surfboard and have a round nose, a rubber cover for the knees and are made of plastic and fiberglass. So in many ways they are similar to surfboards.
People who practice this surfing discipline wear a leash and flippers. Because tricks can be done to a smaller space and the stability is higher, they are less likely to lose their balance during tricks or jumps.
After kneeboarding remained underexposed for a long time due to the great popularity of other water sports such as surfing, it is now becoming more and more popular. It makes the surf sport accessible for more people, also for those who due to health problems can not (long) stand on a surfboard.
However, the water ski version of this board remains the most popular, because there is a lot of speed and a lot of tricks can be performed. This looks spectacular and there is a lot of interest in it. Disadvantage is of course that you need a boat and that this is going to be a rather expensive hobby. Moreover, you can never do this on your own.
The boards for the water ski version are smaller, between 90 cm and 150 cm. They need less buoyancy because the speed is high. Tricks can be pulled off quickly on the small platform, where this requires a somewhat larger surface area when surfing.
With this element, the board is fastened behind a boat with a cord of 15 to 25 meters long. There are also waves coming from the boat itself, on which jumps or tricks can be done. So there is always a lot of action to be seen and you can quickly turn with the small board.
The waterski version of kneeboarding is also done in competition version, where each rider gets two “runs” to get the highest possible score. There is also a separate discipline with obstacles that must be avoided and the fastest possible time must be set.
How to start kneeboarding
It looks pretty easy and it actually is. It’s not like SUP boarding focused on quiet paddling and stability, but more on speed and tricks. So it takes a little bit longer to get used to it and you’ll fall into the water in the beginning, but once you get used to the low balance point you’re less likely to end up in the water.
How do you get on a kneeboard?
- Start in deeper water, lying on your belly on the board
- Place your arms under the kneeboard elastic and grab the cord
- Move your upper body forward so that you can put your knees underneath on the board
- When the boat starts to move, wait until you’re on flat water
- Move your knees all the way forward and into the right position
- Close the elastic over your legs
- Keep your balance by leaning back on the board
Hopefully it’s now clear to you how to start kneeboarding. It’s a bit tricky at first, but if you keep your arms under the kneeboard elastic it always ends correctly over your legs.
When the boat starts to move you can put your knees in the right position and change your arms one by one over the elastic to the drawstring. Always keep your weight back, too much weight in the middle or forwards creates a faceplant. Not exactly what you are looking for when practicing a new sport!
You never have to pull the rope too hard, you just have to lean back and let the boat do all the work.
It can take a number of times to get it all figured out, but by putting your arms under the elastic in the beginning, you make sure that the band ends up on your thighs where it belongs and not under your shins, which is difficult to adjust once you’re at full speed. Now it’s just a matter of practicing before you’re ready to perform tricks.
Besides (renting) a boat you need relatively little for kneeboarding:
- A kneeboard
- A life vest / PFD / Restube
- A drawstring for the boat
Always make sure you are safe on the water by wearing a good lifejacket, PFD or a Restube with you. It goes at high speed and in case of a wrong fall you can be dizzy and don’t know what’s up or down. It is then vitally important that you can safely surface at any time.
Much of the safety of the kneeboarder is also in the hands of the driver of the boat, who must ensure that obstacles are avoided and that no impossible turns are made.
The best kneeboards
Now that we’ve seen what kneeboarding means and how to start it, it’s time to indicate some boards that you can slide well over the water on your knees. Of course you also want to be able to sit comfortably on the board, so it’s also important that the board is firmly attached and that your knees and legs can be placed on a soft surface.
Below my top 3 for the best kneeboards, so you have an indication of the boards you can choose from and why these boards are so good. In the Netherlands the famous brand JOBE is the biggest seller of these boards, that’s why the entire top 3 also consists of their boards.
Take a look at the different boards below and find the one that suits you best, so you can get out on the water quickly and have adventures.
1. Jobe Stage Kneeboard
The JOBE Stage kneeboard is one of the finest and most luxurious boards available on the market. Above you can see that the kneepads made of very soft foam are ideal to put your legs on, so it certainly won’t hurt or irritate you. With the soft upholstered strap you can be sure that the board stays in place.
The board is very light due to the construction with a hardwood foam core and the beautiful shape of the board. Because of the sharp edges this board is very flexible and movable, which makes it easier to perform tricks on the board. The board is further constructed from fiberglass and ABS protective sides.
With a length of 132 cm there is sufficient stability and because of the fine knee pads you can easily lean back. It is suitable for users up to 120 kg, so by far most people can get ahead on the water with the board.
The best kneeboard on the market as far as I’m concerned and it will give you absolutely fine water adventures!
2. JOBE Prophecy Kneeboard
At 138 cm, the JOBE Prophecy Kneeboard is a little longer than its predecessor and is also suitable for users weighing up to 120 kg. Other features of the board are almost the same as for the JOBE Stage board, with soft foam kneepads on which you can rest your legs comfortably.
The same applies to the padded strap and the construction with a foam core, fibreglass and ABS edges. The big difference between the boards is the shape. The design of the Jobe Prophecy board is more straightforward and is certainly suitable for normal boarding behind a boat, but especially for straight lines.
Do you want to do tricks, make jumps and make sharp turns on the water? Then the extra investment in the JOBE Stage Kneeboard is definitely worth it. Do you want to glide straight across the water without a lot of fuss? Then the Jobe Prophecy Kneeboard is a better investment for you.
3. JOBE Streak Kneeboard
As you’ve come to expect from me you also get a budget option, this time in the form of the JOBE Streak Kneeboard. Still a nice board, but significantly less luxurious than the previous options. This board is mainly focused on extra stability for beginners, with the four fins at the bottom for extra control and the possibility to place the handle of the cord at the front of the board.
This board is 133 cm long and suitable for users up to 100 kg, a slightly lower maximum capacity than the other boards. You still get a comfortable seat made of foam and the upholstered band, but you notice that it is cheaper plastic material and the board is slightly heavier.
Are you a beginner who wants to go kneeboarding for the first time and don’t know if you want to do this often in the future? Then this inexpensive board is a good purchase, so you won’t have an expensive board lying around if you don’t like it as much as you thought.
Kneeboarding is a very fun and exciting sport and quite easy to start despite the high pace. With the right equipment you will go a long way and you can quickly get into the water. This sport is more often practiced behind a boat, but you really experience an adventure with every ride.
Now that you know how this sport works, how to do it and which boards are available, you can get started and enjoy gliding over the water or the waves.
Have fun with all your kneeboard experiences!
Let me know how you liked your kneeboard experiences and what advice you would give others who want to try it out? Do you do it more often yourself or did you do it once on holiday or during a day out? I’m curious about your reaction, let me know in the comments!
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I like the new Jobe Prolix board. But be sure you have other good materials too, not just a decent board!